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When you think of Minecraft you might think of blocky graphics and simplistic textures. The beta launch of ray tracing capabilities on NVIDIA's RTX graphics cards has transformed it into a completely new game. To put it simply the ray tracing feature allows more realistic lighting, reflections and shadows. It's similar to jumping from grainy VHS tapes to HD. Although I have to admit that I haven't had the time to spend much time with Minecraft, I do respect it as a creative tool for children. There was a reason why I did not have the time to deal with a large unstructured game. Also, to be honest I've never liked the look of it. If you're planning to spend hours in a virtual world, aesthetics are very important. This is the reason why I didn't get into World of Warcraft. Ray tracing can completely alter the Minecraft experience. All suddenly it's more immersive. The difference is apparent the first time you load one of the six environments from NVIDIA's Ray Tracing Worlds Pack. Each of the six environments was designed by master Minecraft builders. When I booted up Aquatic Adventure, I was gobsmacked by the water reflections and the transparency of crystal blocks. Similar graphical flourishes are seen in high budget titles such as Assassin's Creed, but they always feel like an exact representation of reality. While Minecraft's water blocks mirrored were immobile and flat, it felt like you were in a real lake. The sun's rays also provide the game with a warm glow. You can almost feel the sun on your face. Premium ebooks for premium people These are "god Rays,"" volumetric light scattering effects that are designed to evoke the way sunlight peaks through clouds. Although they can be overused, such as the way J.J. Abrams flings lens flares at everything, it was awe-inspiring to see god rays with Ray Tracing. It didn't matter if was in the water or just looking up at trees, the diffuse light looked so good I was awestruck that it was being rendered in real-time. It may sound like I'm just talking about beautiful graphics, but after spending hours in this Minecraft beta I'm more enthusiastic than ever before about the way ray tracing can change the way we experience games. Remedy's Control, for example utilized ray tracing in a mixed fashion where it worked alongside traditional rendering techniques. Full tilt in the ray tracing process is something we've only presented in the past with this Minecraft beta and NVIDIA's RTX enabled Quake 2 demo. Ray tracing can be compared to HDR in that it can add depth and texture to your image, regardless of whether the image is rendered at 1080p or 4K. I've always found the rush to 4K to be foolhardy. It's an immense amount of processing power that can crunch more pixels. It's not often noticeable from your couch, but it can be a significant improvement in performance when compared to 1,440p and 1080p. As monitors and TVs gain faster refresh rates, I believe that gamers will put more importance on framerates as well as visible visual upgrades such as HDR and Ray Tracing, which are above 4K rendering. (But of course, the goal is to meet all the benchmarks in the near future.) My big takeaway from the Minecraft RTX beta? Realistic lighting goes a long way. It makes everything seem more real and immersive when the lighting is from the direction it is required to go, and when shadows react in a realistic way, and reflections appear as you would expect. It's the difference between playing an actual game and feeling like you're in a virtual world. Ray tracing is still extremely energy-intensive and is not accessible to the majority of gamers. On my test system, that is powered by a Core i7 8700K CPU and an RTX 2080 Ti, Minecraft slows down to 53 FPS in 1080p when the ray tracing feature is enabled. The impact is even more for the RTX 2060, which is less expensive. It drops to around 30 FPS, according to NVIDIA benchmarks. That's where the company's DLSS technology is in. It makes use of AI-powered rendering to provide better quality results from images with lower resolution. When I turned it on, Minecraft was able to be running at around 93FPS at 1080p. NVIDIA claims that it will give the struggling RTX 2060 GPU an extra 53FPS. Performance is lower on RTX laptops which aren’t as powerful as desktop counterparts. NVIDIA claims that an RTX 2080 Max Q laptop similar to Acer's Triton 500 laptop, will achieve 57 FPS in Minecraft with the ray tracing feature enabled and DLSS enabled. Expect things to be slower for RTX 2060 or 2070 models since this is the top-of-the-line mobile GPU. These limitations make me doubt that most games will fully embrace Ray Tracing anytime soon. Not in the same way we've seen with Minecraft. I'd bet that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X both of which will run AMD's upcoming Radeon hardware, will have similar issues managing the performance of ray-tracing. It's enjoyable to see developers experiment with this new technology. Forget the rush to 4K, we'll be judging the future games on how well they implement graphics and ray tracing you'll actually notice.

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